Saturday, November 18, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Lack of professionalism at Pasco Sheriff's Office

RECOMMENDED READING


With each flippant, demeaning post on social media, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office erodes a little of its standing as a professional law enforcement organization dedicated to public safety.

This week, the Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook about a Port Richey woman who called for help with a pressurized dry ice container. The woman told deputies she is trying to get pregnant by artificial insemination and had mishandled a vial for storing sperm and was worried about it exploding. Deputies and firefighters responded and took the vacuum bottle apart for her. She remarked in an interview with the Times about how professionally the responding personnel had handled the unusual call, even refusing to tell nosy neighbors what was going on.

RELATED: Call for help led to social media humiliation, woman says

MORE: Pasco Sheriff's Office posts photo of man crying after his arrest

Then, the next day on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page, a post appeared describing the incident — along with a stock photo of a woman looking unmistakably grossed out. It drew dozens of comments, some unbothered by the playful approach as others denounced it as mocking and distasteful. The agency's spokeswoman says that's the point — to engage with the public and show what deputies are doing every day. The Sheriff's Office frequently posts photos of wanted criminals and people being arrested, including one last November of a man weeping on the ground in handcuffs as deputies gripped his dreadlocks. The headline: "Sad criminal of the day."

Social media is a growing component of law enforcement operations, even serving as a vehicle for tips in cases. But tone matters. Professionalism matters. So here's a maxim: When in doubt, don't. As the hopeful mother told the Times, "I'm not going to support a Sheriff's Office that thinks it's okay to belittle their community." Are you listening, Sheriff Chris Nocco?

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17